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When greed got in the way of conjugal bliss: Sikh bride from India was abused by her husband who demanded a bigger dowry after her family gave him $100,000 and gifts because he had a prized Australian visa

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Simran (not her real name) was married to her husband for three years. Her parents spent $100,000 on the wedding and gave gifts, but he continued to demand money and became violent when his demands weren’t met

‘A marriage match made in dollars not love’
 …Abusive Sikh husband demanded a bigger dowry than the $100,000 he got because he had a prized Australian visa

Simran barely knew her husband who she married when she was 20
Her family spent $100,000 on wedding and gifts, wasn’t enough for groom
She suffered physical, verbal, economic abuse, now lives in a safe house
Royal Commission wants dowry-related abuse included as a form of family violence in Victoria

A Sikh woman who was physically, verbally and financially abused by her husband supports a push to include dowry-related abuse as a form of family violence in Victoria.
The Royal Commission into Family Violence has recommended the Victorian government include dowry-related abuse as a form of family violence, in particular economic abuse, within 12 months.
Simran (not her real name) barely knew her husband when they were married, reported The Age.
Simran (not her real name) was married to her husband for three years. Her parents spent $100,000 on the wedding and gave gifts, but he continued to demand money and became violent when his demands weren’t met
32f598ad00000578-3529343-image-a-22_1460092632858Simran (not her real name) was married to her husband for three years. Her parents spent $100,000 on the wedding and gave gifts, but he continued to demand money and became violent when his demands weren’t met

Her family spent $100,000 on their wedding, along with gifts, as a ‘dowry’ – a cultural practice that was banned in India in 1961 but still exists in Australia.
Her husband was allegedly seen as a good prospect because he has an Australian visa.
Simran was married to her husband for three years, during which he continued to demand money, and then became increasingly violent when his demands were not met.
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She has called for a greater understanding of the practice, and said having dowry-related abuse recognised would make it easier to ask for help in a foreign country.
‘It means when we go to the police and complain, they won’t say, “What is dowry?”‘ she said.
‘When I told a social worker about the abuse, she said, “It sounds like a story.” I said, “This is not a story; this is my life.”‘
In December 2015 a petition was tabled in Victoria’s parliament calling for the practice of ‘dowry’ to be recognised as family violence.
Simran has called for a greater understanding of the practice, and said having dowry-related abuse recognised would make it easier to ask for help in a foreign country.
Simran has called for a greater understanding of the practice, and said having dowry-related abuse recognised would make it easier to ask for help in a foreign country
Dr Mandula O’Connor, one of the main people behind the petition, said there’s little doubt ongoing demands for dowry are linked to domestic abuse and violence in some ethnic communities, like the Indian community.
‘[We demand that] if a woman has demands for further money placed upon her or cash or gold, that if she goes to police that they will accept she is being subjected to family violence,’ she said.
Dr O’Connor said the cultural practice was often not understood and the recommendations would provide more clarity for authorities and allow the victims to have a voice.
‘When the young women goes to the police and say, ‘He has kept my dowry, he has got my gold, and all the cash’, police say to the girls, ‘We don’t know what you mean by dowry?'” she said.
“When they explain it is a gift, [the police] say, ‘Why did you give so much gifts in the first place?’ They have no cultural awareness of the pressure the family are under to give these huge amounts of gifts.’
Vasan Srinivasan, who chairs the Confederation Of Indian Associations in Australia, opposes the proposed legislation.
He conceded problems with dowry demands do exist, but he said the numbers were exaggerated and he was cautious about introducing further laws.
‘There are enough legislations to protect any victims in the state of Victoria. We do not require another dowry legislation just for the benefit of one ethnic community,’ Mr Srinivasan said.

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